Sex and the Married Detective

Episode 48 – Sex and the Married Detective

The forty sixth episode of Columbo was titled Sex and the Married Detective and was the third episode of the show’s eighth season. A sex therapist witnesses her partner engaging in an affair and kills him in revenge. In this podcast Gerry and Iain look at the subject and tone of this episode as well as the detail of the crime.


Due to the subject matter of Sex and the Married Detective, this podcast episode may not be suitable for all audiences.


Columbo arrives on the cusp of the 1990s and it shows in this stylised mystery. Sex therapist Dr Joan Allendy (Lindsay Crouse) is confident and content in her role at the Allenby Clinic, working with her boyfriend and business partner David Kincaid (played right on the line between smooth and sleazy by Stephen Macht) until she returns unexpectedly one evening to find Kincaid engaging in an affair with her assistant, Cindy (Julia Montgomery).


Peter Jurasik and Ken Lerner are effective, if disconcerting, as Joan’s colleagues Dr Simon Ward and Dr Walter Neff, while Dave Florek‘s barman Norm and Harry Johnson‘s creepy Charlie Lence provide vital evidence to steer Columbo in the right direction.


James Frawley‘s fifth of six stints as director, after Try and Catch Me, Make Me a Perfect MurderHow to Dial a Murder and Murder, Smoke & Mirrors, is a departure from his earlier episodes as he tries to decide whether he’s working on Columbo or Red Shoe Diaries; while Jerry Ludwig‘s script dials up the cheese factor to eleven, creating a unique feel to the episode.


During the episode we asked whether any of our listeners could remember how easy it was to buy a handgun without ID in 1989. If you have thoughts on that or any other aspect of Sex and the Married Detective, please share them below, or find us on Twitter at @columbopodcast.


The Columbo Podcast is widely available – on iTunes, Stitcher, tunein, Pocket Casts or pretty much wherever you choose to receive and manage your podcasts. If you enjoy the show it would be greatly appreciated if you consider leaving ratings and reviews on these sites – particularly iTunes – as that can make a big difference to growing the podcast’s audience.


Sex and the Married Detective was released in 1989. It is 98 minutes long and originally aired on the ABC network. This episode is not available on Netflix, but can be found on the Season 8 or complete collection DVD box sets from Universal.


The Columbo Podcast Team

The Columbo Podcast Team

The Columbo Podcast team develops, produces and promotes The Columbo Podcast.

  • Largo

    I made the mistake. I fell in love. That wasn’t part of the plan. I’m still in love with you, and I want you so to love me. If I had the nerve, I would stay and lie, hoping that I could make you love me again, as I am for myself … and so forget the other and forget the past. But I haven’t the nerve to try ….

    — Judy Barton’s confessional letter writing scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958)

    “Woman as other” — one of the key phrases stated in a feminist film theory class that I took in college. According to the Laura Mulvey ‘school’ of feminist film analysis, Classical Hollywood Cinema forces female audience members to adopt “the male scopophilic gaze” in its objectification of women up on the silver screen: where women are depicted simply as a “spectacle” for male desire. Of course, this is, in my very humble opinion, a gross oversimplification of the workings of cinema since it assumes that the filmgoing audience are all empty and passive vessels that are enslaved by the supposed inherently male perspective that is the mechanism of cinema. This type of feminist film analysis also denies female desire within the objectification of the male up on the silver screen: such as in male-centric films like Superman (1978), or World War II movies like The Story of G.I. Joe (1945), Twelve O’Clock High (1949) and The Great Escape (1963), or even in a [GULP!] gladiator film like Spartacus (1960).

    Speaking as just one man, I empathize with so many female characters in countless numbers of films — especially in the films of Alfred Hitchcock: where the female characters in his American produced films tend to be far more interesting and psychologically complex than any of the male characters. So I believe that I’m not an empty and unfeeling vessel at all here and I reject this particular type of feminist analysis and its approach to cinema. In the film Vertigo (1958), Judy Barton is a prime example of a Hitchcock female that evokes audience sympathy — as this film strongly critiques, entirely through Judy’s character, the male dominant and fetish-like obsession as represented by the Scottie Ferguson character. I dare say that “woman as other” is a far, far more complex item as presented in Vertigo than in Laura Mulvey’s imagination! When Judy Barton speaks of forgetting “the other” and the past in the film, this phrase takes on a whole new layer of meaning: where “the other” is an alter ego adopted by a woman that is designed to deceive the male protagonist within the film’s narrative and which ultimately leads to death and destruction.

    And so it is here that we now turn to the Columbo Mystery Movie Sex And The Married Detective, which features a sex therapist, Dr. Joan Allenby, who adopts another persona in order to commit a murder of revenge. This other persona is called “Lisa” and she is designed after the stereotypical film noir-like femme fatale: a brunette who is dressed entirely in black, but who also sports a man’s black fedora hat! However, this overt homage to film noir iconography is also an image that borders on parody here. True, this particular Columbo Mystery Movie was written, directed and produced by dudes, but this classical image of a femme fatale is so meta that said dudes HAD to be truly self aware of it all and this puts a whole different spin on things here: that of an almost self-parody type quality to “Lisa.” But at the very same time, this “spectacle” that is “Lisa” underscores that this powerful type of fantasy role-playing is far more dangerous and deadlier than one could possibly imagine — as Dr. Joan Allenby soon discovers for herself.

    Of course, those adhering to the Laura Mulvey analytic viewpoint would only focus on the image here and how “Lisa” is such a typical femme fatale from classical film noir: that she is designed to entrap the male within her “spectacle” and all of this is indicative of typical male fear of the independent woman and typical modern male misogyny, blah, blah, blah. But this type of feminist film analysis of Sex And The Married Detective would be overlooking something very crucial — just like Laura Mulvey did in her critique of Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo: the fact that the female protagonist that is displaying said femme fatale-like trappings is the most sympathetic character in the film’s entire narrative! When that twist comes in the latter half of Vertigo, the point of view of the audience shifts over almost entirely to Judy Barton’s character. From within the audience’s POV, Scottie Ferguson is now viewed with suspicion, anxiety and, ultimately, with horror. In Sex And The Married Detective, our sympathies rest — in my very humble opinion — entirely with Dr. Joan Allenby from the very start of this Columbo Mystery Movie’s narrative.

    Dr. Joan Allenby is everything a thinking man could want in a woman: she’s intelligent, strong and confident, she has an exuberant and almost effervescent personality, she wants to help others and she’s a very successful and highly professional woman. Dr. Joan Allenby is also very content and happy at this juncture and I can’t help but really like and admire her. And, of course, the roof caves in on all of Joan’s happiness and success — when she realizes that her business partner and lover, David Kincaid, is a two-timing jerk who is having an affair with Joan’s executive assistant, Cindy Galt. Why, oh why are wonderful women like Dr. Joan Allenby always seeming to be dating or marrying total jerks! Well, here at least, this particular plot turn exists so as to enable a murder to occur and, thus, provide a good case for our little homicide detective hero to solve. But what a homicide, eh!

    The murder that is presented in Sex And The Married Detective is a true crime of passion. We feel Dr. Joan Allenby’s total humiliation at the hands of David Kincaid when she witnesses his mockery of her while he’s in bed with another woman — Cindy Galt, Joan’s very own ‘Girl Friday.’ ¡Aye caramba! Poor Joan is reduced to tears as she witnesses this cruel ridiculing of her person by her supposed lover. How incredibly painful and perfectly awful to witness this along with Joan! Later, I can feel Dr. Joan Allenby’s rage as she hatches a poisonous plan of payback. Joan takes a page from her own self-help book, The Courtesan Complex, when she dons the disguise — that is ostensibly for just a harmless sex game of fantasy dress up — of a high class ‘lady of the evening.’ But this isn’t really a game at all, but a deadly design for revenge. However, Joan plays her part far too well and her “Lisa” disguise entices other men and calls far too much attention to herself while she prepares and waits for David Kincaid to enter her trap. And, thus, begins Joan’s downfall — including a very strong statement against woman as “spectacle” — and her ultimate capture by our incredibly gifted and highly intelligent Lieutenant Columbo.

    The ever resourceful and tenacious Columbo puts all of the pieces of this murder mystery puzzle together bit by bit through the use of his brilliant deductive technique. With hard work and a bit of luck and some pure happenstance, Lieutenant Columbo wears Dr. Joan Allenby down until we get to that exquisite fire lit confessional scene: “Do you think less of me?” Dr. Joan Allenby deserves a hug before the handcuffs are placed on her wrists and the wheels of justice start to turn and do their work — a warm hug of understanding and empathy. For Joan also reveals her fear — as well as the final release — of this constructed “other” that was her Lisa persona: someone whom Joan felt was stronger and more desirable than herself. Joan takes full responsibility for all of the actions that were done through her “Lisa” alter ego, and with her complete confession to Columbo, this “Lisa” and her concurrent “spectacle” has truly been let go of by Joan. Judy Barton in Vertigo yearned to forget “the other” and the past, but Dr. Joan Allenby has actually succeeded in ridding herself of “the other” that was Lisa and the past. It is at this point that Joan then asks Columbo about his personal view of her. Columbo makes it very clear to Joan that he still cares for her and that he respects her very much.

    Lieutenant Columbo refuses to judge Dr. Joan Allenby for this is not his job. Columbo states that he has enjoyed all of his discussions through the various encounters he’s had with Joan and that he believes he understands. Columbo is only involved with the detection and the revelation of the actions that lead to a homicide, but he doesn’t sit in ultimate judgement of these same actions. During the final part of the narrative, Columbo acts almost like a director would as he meticulously takes the murderer through each sequence and every action that brought about the homicide in question. Which is quite fitting because this finale is highly theatrical with all of the flashes of lightning, the shadows, the mysterious figures in silhouette and later, that wonderful firelight. But that’s the beauty of this ending sequence: the utter and complete theatricality of it all and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Dr. Joan Allenby first set the stage during the actual crime and now it’s the Lieutenant’s turn to reset it. For Columbo is the true maestro of revealing the complete workings of the murder mystery here — and with such a directorial-like flourish so all of us can savor Columbo’s solution to the crime along with him. Be seeing you!

    • Ian Baxter

      Well crafted Largo, thank you, I do think you’ve demonstrated that there is a good idea hidden at the heart of this episode, and a strong lead character worthy of Columbo. Unfortunately I just think these points are lost in the padding and weakness of the script.

      • Largo

        Et tu, Ian? You really, really despised that Tuba March, didn’t you? Well, there’s no point in listening to the podcast since I’m just going to get more of the same: “this episode sucks big time, folks!” So it looks like I’m flying to Brazil this weekend for a quick getaway, eh. There’s nothing that a bottle of tequila and two cosplaying amigas couldn’t cure right now! 😉

  • Largo

    Before anyone decides to really rip into the infamous Tuba March sequence, please remember that some of us have brothers who played the tuba in their high school band. When I watched Sex And The Married Detective with my brother, Ron, he was absolutely delighted that Lieutenant Columbo turned out to be a tuba player as well. The exact situation that Columbo described about how he came to learn to play the tuba also applied to my brother, Ron: it was the only available instrument when he chose to sign up for high school band. I can still recall when Ron came home with this rather careworn tuba that he later cleaned and polished up in our upstairs bathtub!

    So in other words, because Ron was delighted with the Tuba March sequence, I was too — and I fully admit that I still smile during this particular scene whenever it comes around during a re-watch of this Columbo episode. But I will draw the line when it comes to the insipid dancing water spouts stuff involving that blasted water fountain in front of the music center. Film director James “The Muppet Movie” Frawley should be ashamed of himself for including such a sickly saccharine sequence such as this one, eh! Someone should have intervened and carefully instructed Frawley that the Columbo series was aimed at an adult audience and was definitely not for preschoolers — right before they burned this water fountain film footage in front of him! Sheesh — how terribly embarrassing and cringe worthy this water fountain crap is whenever I watch this particular episode. I simply must remember to fast forward straight on through this nonsense!

    Speaking of superfluous film footage involving this music center, there’s that idiotic scene where Dr. Joan Allenby panics when she suddenly ‘forgets’ where she placed her hidden bundle of “Lisa” clothes in the main ladies’ lounge. It’s in the exact same place that you went to twice before, honey: under the counter between the third and fourth sinks down from the actual entrance into the bathroom. I’m going to blame director James Frawley for this one since it smacks of the same ‘dumbing down’ of a female character that was done to Kay Freestone in the Frawley directed Columbo episode, Make Me A Perfect Murder: with that incredibly moronic ‘techno fear’ moment where Kay starts pushing every video control on that TV switcher board in an attempt to turn off the main audio feed inside that television control booth! Extra spine tingling suspense was added to both of these respective sequences with this Frawley inspired direction to his lead actresses, right folks? EEGAH! Inconceivable!!!

    I can understand why a lot of you aren’t really that fond of this Tuba March sequence, but perhaps you would agree that film director James Frawley has made you endure far worse things — such as the horrendous histrionics of “singer” Valerie Kirk. But if you feel that you must rip into the Tuba March scene, please don’t be too hard on it. Please remember that there are folks out there that play the tuba or they have a loved one that plays this same instrument and they all really adore this particular moment in this Columbo episode. Plus, I’ll give all of you forum folks a friendly warning: my brother Ron lurks here occasionally at the Columbo Podcast discussion forum. Ron just might not take too kindly to any of the more harsher remarks one might direct at this Tuba March sequence. And Ron is fully armed with a tuba and he’s not afraid to use it! 😉

  • Margaret Williams

    Hello, my fellow Columbo fans! I’ve never written a review before and so this is my very first time — please be gentle with me.

    “Sex and the Married Detective” is a thoroughly enjoyable Columbo episode overall, despite some clumsy plot contrivances, a few lame attempts at humor and an incredibly stupid interval involving a tuba player. However, the biggest hurdle I had to get over was the whole ‘revenge murder’ angle. I mean, is comparing someone to a rice pudding dessert really worthy of death? As far as a truly sweet revenge, if it were me staring through those wooden venetian blind doors at David Kincaid and Cindy Galt, I would have burst right on through and then yelled out, ‘You two are so busted!!!’ Then I would have told them both that they were oh so fired and to get their two-timing butts out of my clinic before I had to call security! Then I would have delivered the coup de grâce on them by screaming: ‘NO SEX FOR YOU!!!’ All of this would have added new meaning to the phrase coitus interruptus, right? Tee hee hee hee!

    Please forgive me for that last comment. Sorry, I just couldn’t seem to help myself there. I felt like being a bit naughty …. I guess because of the subject matter of this episode. Speaking of which: why did they have to have Dr. Joan Allenby as a sex therapist instead of just a plain old psychologist? Why did Dr. Allenby have to get all pervy on Columbo by asking him about his sex life? That particular sequence was terribly uncomfortable for the poor Lieutenant and for me and for the whole viewing audience, for crying out loud! Of course, Columbo kind of gets back at Dr. Allenby later on by letting that skeevo stalker guy into her home so he could really scope her out and all. Ugh! I mean, if some creepy stalker guy started following me all the way to the ladies’ powder room, I’d be dialing 911 so fast on my cell phone that the cops would’ve been there before I even reached the restroom door! That creepo jerk deserved a swift kick in the crotch, too! Stranger danger this, you stinking stalking pervert!

    Oops! I got lost in a bit of a tangent there, didn’t I? This particular Columbo story involves sex therapists, so just deal with it, Margaret. Ditto on the fact that it’s a murder mystery and someone is going to have to eat a bullet and drop dead. However, Dr. Joan Allenby couldn’t really bring herself to commit this dastardly act of premeditated murder, could she? In order to actually do this dark deed, Joan had to submerge herself inside of a kind of doppelgänger that was clad entirely in black — that’s really symbolic, people! So Dr. Allenby got to play dress up by disguising herself just like a film noir femme fatale. Speaking of which, I just love those old film noir movies, don’t you? Have all of you seen Double Indemnity (1944)? If you haven’t you should really check it out soon — totally aces! And did all of you guys just adore “Lisa” in her black fedora hat as much as I? That “Lisa” girl was totally rocking it in that whole outfit: look out boys, here she comes — she’s a man killer! I could really get into all of this — how about the rest of you?

    So, ladies — I guess it’s okay to play some sex games or to dress exotically for your guy, but only once in a blue moon. However, unless you are a very serious cosplaying woman, you shouldn’t be doing the fantasy dress up thing for your man except on very rare occasions. If your boyfriend or husband keep on insisting that you doll yourself up in some weird way all of the time, you had better run, girl! Like, if your guy is always trying to get you to dress exactly like Lara Croft or, even worse, to force you into a ‘Princess Leia Slave Girl’ outfit, my advice for you is to drop this dude like a hot rock and head for the hills! Playing some little sex games can be fun in very small doses, but playing them all of the freaking time can mean only one thing: a very serious personal problem! Nobody really wants to risk getting completely lost in the moment like Joan did in this Columbo episode! Moderation is the key here, people. In addition, this Dr. Allenby says that playing a few sex games is okay if they are harmless. But I say playing sex games can be quite the health hazard, too!

    Take my Aunt Sadie, for instance. Back in the day, my Aunt Sadie had this bright idea to spice up her marriage by swinging the front door wide open and greeting her husband while wearing only a sexy smile. So Aunt Sadie thought she heard her husband’s car enter the drive and she thought she heard his footfalls on the front doorstep — but when she burst out stark naked into the open doorway, she ended up giving the postman a heart attack! You see, this about to be retired postman had to double back later on his route because he forgot to deliver a parcel to my Aunt on his first stop at her house. “The Postman Always Rings Twice,” indeed!

    Then there’s the neighborhood couple I know that were playing bedroom games — where the wife was dressed as some Dr. Moreau-like Panther Woman or something — and when the wife ‘pounced for the kill,’ so to speak, she ended up breaking two of her husband’s ribs by accident! A simple bedroom game of ‘Catch me – Catch me’ between another married couple I know ended up with the wife tearing ligaments in one of her knees! If you really feel that you’ve got to play some sex games, please – please use extreme caution, people! But even better yet, keep watching great Columbo episodes together as a couple — you’ll be glad that you did. Now, I’ve got to get back to my schoolwork, so I need to run. Toodles!

    • CarlosMu

      some people enjoy roleplaying as a mysterious courtesan in a fedora. For others, their alter ego is a spoiled schoolgirl in a beret. There’s no shame in either, they’re both as healthy and natural as rain! 😉

      • Margaret Williams

        So what you’re saying is: you liked my review? Help me out here, Carlos — I’m a little confused by your reply post. Oh, and I’ve given up the beret for the time being and I’ve been wearing a wine-red fedora. 🙂

  • Roberto

    Here are the answers to the trivia questions I posted in last week’s podcast thread.

    1. In what country do Gerry and Iain live? [Scotland]

    2. What Columbo guest star died the day after the podcast was released covering the episode in which they starred? [Leonard Nimoy, star of “A Stitch In Crime”]

    3. In an early podcast Gerry asked a highly-controversial Columbo trivia question. What was controversial about it? [Mrs. Columbo show was considered a Columbo show]

    4. What food-related term did Columbo use to refer to the accoutrements of a murderer’s clothing that Iain had never heard used in that way? [fruit-salad in “Dead Weight”]

    5. In one podcast the hosts ask about the meaning of the opening line of the Columbo episode. What were the episode and opening line? [“Short Fuse” & Better than a Borgia]

    6. In a podcast covering a Season Five episode, what term used frequently in the episode did Gerry refuse to use throughout the podcast? [legation in “A Case Of Immunity”]

    7. In the podcast for “Double Exposure”, what ending staple of the podcast was first introduced? [case review (motive, clues, gotcha)]

    8. What episode did Gerry say divides Columbo fans into those that dislike the episode and those that hate it? [“Dagger Of The Mind”]

    9. In the Columbo Podcast universe, May 28 will always be known as what? [notable podcast listener Ian Baxter’s wife’s birthday]

    10. In the podcast covering “Identity Crisis”, why does Iain initially not like the guest star murderer? [Patrick McGoohan played a king in Braveheart who maliciously maltreated Scots]

    11. What UK star did Gerry say that Jack Cassidy was the American version of? [David Niven]

    12. What Columbo clip do the hosts use when they are dissatisfied with an episode’s gotcha scene? [WHERE IS THE PROOF LIEUTENANT? from “The Most Dangerous Match”]

    13. Which scene in “Double Exposure” is Gerry’s all-time favorite Columbo scene even though it is a very short scene? [Robert Culp and Columbo in a car driving to theater]

    14. At the party in “Deadly State Of Mind”, what drink did Columbo ask for that Iain had never heard of? [cream soda]

    15. In the podcast for “Suitable For Framing” what audio staple of the podcast was first introduced? [audio clips from the Columbo episode]

    16. What character did Iain peg as the podcast’s standard for bad acting? [Margaret Williams of “Ransom For A Dead Man”]

    17. In which popular Columbo episode did the hosts call the murder plot the most extravagant, riskiest, and most bizarre? [“Swan Song”]

    18. The podcast for “A Stitch In Crime” was the only one in which what opening staple of the podcast was almost overlooked? [Iain’s episode summary]

    19. What colors of suit jackets did pun-loving Iain say that Vito Scotti showed Columbo at the tailor shop in “Candidate For Crime”? [50 shades of brown]

    20. Which annoying scene in “An Exercise In Fatality” did Gerry say was the single-most padded Columbo scene ever? [Columbo at Tri-Con Industries]

    21. Which fan-favorite Columbo episode did Iain not like largely due to its subject matter? [the military back-story in “By Dawn’s Early Light”]

    22. During the podcast covering “A Matter Of Honor”, Gerry said which podcast listeners would get annoyed at his mention of Ewoks and Jedis? [Gerry and Iain’s future Star Trek podcast]

    23. When Alex Benedict put on white gloves before murdering Jennifer Welles, Iain laughingly said that he knew Benedict was about to do one of two things. One was commit murder. What was the other? [refereeing a snooker match]

    24. Absent an official theme song, what do the hosts call the “soundtrack to Season One”? [a typewriter]

    25. “Columbo would be demoted after this episode” was one of the nicest things Gerry said in the entire podcast covering which Columbo episode? [“Last Salute To The Commodore”]

    • Thanks again for this Roberto. I think between us Gerry and I managed about 20 or 21, but even that took us a while! Great work!

    • Ian Baxter

      Thanks Roberto, good fun, only got 18 right 🙂

    • digger01

      These were really great, Roberto. Thanks for putting them together.

    • dtrieber

      Roberto, you know a lot of Columbo Podcast trivia. Do you know which episode ‘crack on’ became a ritual as a starting cue.?

  • Roberto

    I don’t remember where I read it, but I subscribe to the notion that it is entirely unproductive to compare the ABC Columbo movies to the original NBC Columbo episodes. It will drive you batty and will get you nowhere.

    The NBC episodes were (for the most part) well-written inverted detective stories with our beloved Lieutenant as story guide and protagonist. The ABC movies were (for the most part) poorly written murder stories with some guy who resembles our beloved Lieutenant appearing in the story as one of the characters but who doesn’t act like Lieutenant Columbo.

    “Sex and the Married Detective” fits that bill to a tee. Iain and Gerry have fun discussing the movie, more fun as they say than they had watching the movie. The story is better suited to a cheap, tawdry, lurid, soap opera than to Columbo. Late-1980s TV was littered with these types of shows, including some really good shows like LA Law and Hill Street Blues (not to mention the innumerable terrible shows of this type).

    The music, the dialog, the characters, the story-line all bordered on the risque fare en vogue at the time. I don’t fault whoever came up with the idea to try this in a Columbo movie. What I do strenuously object to is how bad it turned out. It’s like they forgot it was a Columbo movie all together. Or, rather, forgot what made Columbo so great in the first place.

    I don’t want to go step-by-step into how bad this movie was (as a Columbo product). It will just infuriate me and, besides, Gerry and Iain have already done a good job covering that in the podcast. Instead I will simply end by observing that “Sex and the Married Detective” could be an enjoyable watch if you mentally replace every time you see Columbo with McMillan, McCloud, Kojak, or Lennie Briscoe.

    • Ian Baxter

      Completely agree with your conclusion

    • I have to agree as well, regarding the revival vs. the original series. I’ve been trying to use the same above par/par/below par rating, for the last three new ones, as I used for the originals. All three of these are below par if I hold them to the original series’ standard. If I treat the revival series as its own organism, these past three episodes are par and fairly indicative of what’s to come. A few much worse and a few much better, but this is the new “average” for the series. I must say I’ve enjoyed the podcasts for these episodes much more than I’ve enjoyed the episodes themselves. 🙁

  • Ian Baxter

    Yo! Way, way, way to much padding! Such a shame as I thought Dr Allenby was a genuinely interesting and likeable character who made a good adversary for Columbo.

    • Larry

      I to can spell.

  • Omar

    This episode started well enough but once Joan tells Columbo that the victim might have been murdered in an orgy it went sharply downhill for me. After that I just couldn’t wait for the episode to end. I’m sorry, call me close-minded, but Columbo and sex don’t mix!!

    Loved the intro to the show guys, like to start the day with a healthy chuckle.

    • Thanks Omar. Hopefully more people love the intro than hate it. Suspect there may be people in each camp!

      • The missus and I loved it!

      • Margaret Williams

        About that intro to this week’s podcast: I was both repulsed and thrilled by it — it’s kind of hard for me to explain. But my question for you is this — do you think less of me because of this personal reaction to it?

  • Red Hobbes

    Interesting opening, guys. Just a suggestion, but when you mentioned sexual content, perhaps you guys could’ve dubbed in a horrified gasp or scream?

    As for this episode, it wasn’t bad. Not good, but Allenby made for a very sympathetic murderer. But yes, this episode had more padding than a junior high dance, but I did enjoy the tuba solo. More layers to our favorite detective. I got the impression that this episode was another experimental attempt at mixing genres: detective story, steamy sex thriller, psychological thriller. Ambitious, and that mix can work, but not in the framework of a Columbo movie.

    Gabriel Macht was also on Deep Space Nine, and he was also in a movie called Galaxina. It was a stab at trying to update Barbarella, I think. And it was funny to see Peter Jurasik out of his Babylon 5 regalia.

    Like I said, it wasn’t a bad episode, Allenby saved it from being terrible.

    Great work as always, guys!

    • Thanks RH. Macht was good in DS9!

    • I actually enjoyed the fact that we learned Columbo played the tuba in high school. And it would have been great if they’d left us with just that initial revelation and the first playing sequence. But taking us along on a pied piper march and treating us to synchronized water works was going to far. Just the sort of thing that brings so many of these revival episodes down several notches for me.

      • Largo

        I didn’t feel that the “pied piper march” was going too far at all: it was yet another magical moment involving children and our little Lieutenant hero! So sweet — did you hear all of the little children cheer and clap with joy for our Columbo? 🙂

        But I must admit that the dancing water spouts in the fountain would make even Walt Disney cringe with embarrassment! D-:

  • For me this episode is extremely dated. The most memorable thing about is was the ‘theme’ tune on the sax: it was stuck in my head for a good 24 hours and now I’ve referred to it here it’s back, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing – just shows that the composer of the tune did a good job. Maybe this title should be renamed to ‘Sax and the Married Detective’.

    In terms of the story line, it was moderately interesting. There were some atrocious goofs which have already been mentioned by the esteemed company here. Frankly these were impossible to overlook and quite insulting to our intelligence in a way.

    I felt that Lindsay Crouse was excellent: she was quite zen in her character which reminded me of Ruth Lytton from ‘Old Fashioned Murder’. I also enjoyed the supporting cast, particularly in the scene in which they solicited the titular lieutenant’s advice.

    I was quite disappointed not to see Dr. Simon Ward driving, because if he had we would have had the delight of seeing Jurasik park within a Columbo episode!

    Regarding the podcast, there would some laugh out loud moments for me when both Gerry and Iain were getting so righteously annoyed about ‘good time Charlie’.

    Incidentally, would be interested in knowing whether our friends Stateside enjoy their rice pudding with a good dollop of raspberry jam in the middle, then mixed in.

    • I enjoy a good rice pudding any way I can get it!

      • Largo

        This episode will probably be very confusing to all of the men in the viewing audience who feel that rice pudding is the greatest dessert ever! 😉

        Thanks for the hearty laugh there, Salty! 🙂

    • Margaret Williams

      “I was quite disappointed not to see Dr. Simon Ward driving, because if he had we would have had the delight of seeing Jurasik park within a Columbo episode!”

      You know, Kieran — now those silly dancing water spouts in that fountain don’t seem that cringe worthy to me after reading this bit written by you!

  • Largo


    1. Dr. Joan Allenby as “Lisa” purchased the gun the same day as the murder, as clearly stated by Columbo when describing the retrieved gun from the mailbox sans fingerprints —

    • Largo

      2. This is why we see Dr. Joan Allenby dress up as “Lisa” the first time BEFORE the concert: she is about to purchase the murder weapon at ‘Sleazy gubs ‘R Us’ within the LA area and NOT Chicago! Here is a screenshot of the gun dealer (please notice his man hands) placing the Saturday night special on top of a glass display case (not a drawer) for “Lisa” to inspect —

      • Largo

        3. Here is Lisa’s hand (notice the long red painted lady nails) about to grasp said gun right before we cut away to the next scene, which is later that evening at the music center —

        • Ian Baxter

          There must be a clinic somewhere with a special room for podcast presenters to go to get some therapy, play out their fantasies and improve their ability to spot such details. 🙂

          • Largo

            I’d be more than happy to sponsor a “Cinema Appreciation 101” class at my luxurious lair in my 4K projection room. But as for the therapy and fantasy stuff, they’ll have to look elsewhere, I’m afraid.

        • Larry

          Good work, Captain Deakins.

  • Sirappleby

    An excellent show this week, if not an entirely excellent episode of Columbo. I tried to listen quietly alongside my wife as she lay sleeping. She was a little surprised to hear me laughing every 5 minutes! I loved your character assassination of the ‘creep’. It was the end of the casual 80’s, I think he wasn’t alone in being alone!

    I see we have a clearer view of the killing, I wonder which episode first showed the murder on screen. As I’m still catching up with Dagger of The Mind, which incidentally I rather enjoyed this time around, I’ll have to wait and see!

  • Largo

    Well, now that I’ve listened to the entire podcast for this week, I can now bring up some items that both of you gents overlooked. Ken Lerner played a certain nebbish Dr. Walter Neff, but let me tell you about an even more famous Walter Neff: namely the insurance investigator character portrayed by Fred MacMurray in the famous and classic film noir, Double Indemnity (1944), in which he costarred with Barbara Stanwyck (see picture below). If you haven’t seen this superb film noir, you’d better get your Netflix fired up and watch it immediately — if not sooner. Doctor’s orders, eh! 🙂

    Yes, both Dr. Ward and Dr. Neff appeared to lack self-awareness and were rather nerdy, too — but this was all part of the plan: not only was this a Columbo Mystery Movie, it also acted as a satire on the ‘Dr. Ruth’ sex counselor phenomenon of the time. I truly enjoyed Columbo’s priceless facial expressions as he encountered these two therapists in those little one-on-one scenes, which also included the executive assistant, Cindy Galt. Columbo’s vague and rather obvious advice was a big slap in the face at this whole particular therapy scene and I found it a hoot. Anyone here remember this Dr. Ruth? You know, that odd gnome-like woman with the outrageous accent that David Letteman parodied mercilessly on his NBC television show? So in other words, I’d rather spend time with Dr. Joan Allenby than with Dr. Ruth any day of the bloomin’ week. Be seeing you! 🙂

  • Margaret Williams

    Over here in Switzerland, I’m currently dating two different young men (no, it’s not what you think — heck, I’m only 16 years old!). I asked both of my guys this same question: “If I were a dessert, what kind of dessert would I be?” One of my boyfriends said, ‘A warm slice of huckleberry pie’ and my other boyfriend said, ‘Apple strudel à la mode.’ Yes, I fully admit that I squealed with delight at both of these responses! 🙂

    • Ian Baxter

      I think you should talk to Lt. Columbo, he gave you good advice before. 🙂

      • Margaret Williams

        Hey, it’s not that I would have hatched some nefarious plot against either one of these guys if one or both of them had given me an answer that I didn’t like! Besides, I’ve put all of those unresolved anger issues behind me and I want to be the good girl now, Ian! Really, I do! 🙂

  • Largo

    “Tonight on the NBC Big Event: the premiere of the original television film production, Deadlier Than The Male, starring Lisa Prescott as the mysterious Lady in Black!”

  • Largo

    Oh, just one more thing …. concerning an overlooked item in this week’s podcast: the title of this week’s Columbo Mystery Movie episode is a play on the title of the 1964 Warner Brothers’ film production, Sex and the Single Girl, which was based on the Helen Gurley Brown book of the same name. Yeah, just what this discussion thread needs more of: sex! Well, here is the movie poster for said film which starred Natalie Wood and Tony Curtis —

    • Larry

      OMGolly, Natalie Wood in Inside Daisy Clover was my first masturbation!

  • Ian Baxter

    You asked about a Shirley Temple… its a non-alcoholic mix (with ginger ale) reportedly created for the child actress Shirley Temple. I think I read somewhere that she disliked the drink as it was too sweet.

    • luciaphile

      It’s ginger ale, grenadine, and a maraschino cherry. A Shirley Temple Black is the same, but with bourbon.

      Also, while I know nothing about gun control laws in the 1990s in Illinois, there were/are parts of the States where you could/can buy firearms with precious little in the way of waiting periods or ID.

  • Roberto

    Gerry and Iain, being from Scotland, use many words or phrases that may be unfamiliar to an American listener (they almost always give the American translation for clarity). Just for fun, what are the American meanings of the following words or phrases spoken in the podcast?

    1. Trainers
    2. Suited and booted
    3. Balaclava
    4. Jumper
    5. Curate’s egg
    6. Fag
    7. Snaps
    8. Bonnet
    9. Corpse
    10. Punter

    11. Niggle
    12. Over-egg the pudding
    13. On your bike
    14. Junction
    15. Bits and bobs
    16. Mac
    17. Draughts
    18. Underground
    19. Hoovering
    20. Boot

    21. Caravan
    22. Pants
    23. Lift
    24. Clinch
    25. Reversed
    26. DVLA
    27. Zed
    28. Sussing out
    29. Solicitor
    30. Holiday

    Extra credit: Besides the obvious concerns of any podcasters regarding technical issues and finding an audience, what was Iain and Gerry’s primary concern about launching their Columbo podcast?

    • Good luck folks!

    • The missus and I got 22 out of 30. But no idea on the bonus question. Still, not bad for a couple of Americans. Although we’re both fans of BBC America, so have heard quite a few of these terms along the way….

    • Roberto

      Of course, this was not intended to be taken seriously — just having some fun with the guys. Anyway, here are what I thought the answers were, though as an American I could be wrong!

      1. Trainers [sneakers]
      2. Suited and booted [dressed smartly]
      3. Balaclava [ski mask]
      4. Jumper [sweater]
      5. Curate’s egg [mixture of good and bad]
      6. Fag [cigarette]
      7. Snaps [photos]
      8. Bonnet [hood of a car]
      9. Corpse [break character as an actor by laughing]
      10. Punter [customer of a prostitute]

      11. Niggle [criticize]
      12. Over-egg the pudding [spoil by trying too hard]
      13. On your bike [go away]
      14. Junction [intersection]
      15. Bits and bobs [collection of small items]
      16. Mac [raincoat]
      17. Draughts [checkers]
      18. Underground [subway]
      19. Hoovering [vacuuming]
      20. Boot [trunk of a car]

      21. Caravan [trailer]
      22. Pants [underwear]
      23. Lift [elevator]
      24. Clinch [embrace]
      25. Reversed [backed up or backed into]
      26. DVLA [DMV]
      27. Zed [Z]
      28. Sussing out [figuring out]
      29. Solicitor [attorney]
      30. Holiday [vacation]

      Extra credit: Besides the obvious concerns of any podcasters regarding technical issues and finding an audience, what was Iain and Gerry’s primary concern about launching their Columbo podcast? [Americans would not be able to understand their thick Scottish accents]

      • Great stuff Roberto. Though I think a ‘punter’ could be a customer of anything, not restricted to a prostitute. A niggle is a small or minor criticism.

        Interested to learn that ‘corpse’ in that sense is not universal!

  • Ian Baxter

    This cover was shared recently on Twitter, it really isn’t a great advert for Columbo…

  • skydog

    I have to admit that I liked this episode and the tuba scene was part of it. The glee on Columbo’s face when he says that he enjoyed playing in the impromptu march was fantastic. The other moment that made me laugh was when he sampled the Shirley Temple. In fact, the whole conversation with the bartender was very enjoyable.

    As far as the ID issues when purchasing the gun… It also struck me as odd that she didn’t have to offer any ID whatsoever. I am aware that guns can be purchased rather casually in some places, but a valid driver’s license would certainly be necessary. Even if she had purchased it at some shady pawn shop, she doesn’t circulate in that type of world where she would know where to go to buy firearms under the table.

    Found it incredibly risky that Dr. Allenby would go out disguised as Lisa and make herself extremely visible in all of those nightclubs and bars when Columbo had just informed her that the entire vice squad was combing the city.

    I also noted the reverse one-more-thing that Dr. Allenby sprung on Columbo, asking about his sex life. I thought that might be one of the earlier indications that she might have something to do with it. One minute, she’s fainting out in the lobby and then laughing with Columbo about his fantasies, etc.

    The policewoman appearing as Lisa at the end seemed superfluous. The mannequin dressed up in the black outfit accomplished just about the same thing.

    I know I’m late to the party, but this podcast is excellent. I think I’ll have to search out Sledgehammer so I can continue to listen to you guys.

    • Great observations skydog. Look forward to seeing you over on the Sledgecast site!

  • dtrieber

    Socked in = airport closed due to adverse weather conditions